Resignation rates are heating up, signaling high risk of turnover for summer 2021. Labor and workplace experts have predicted a post-pandemic registration boom. New data from workforce analytics company, Visier confirms that the impending “great resignation” is real and happening sooner than originally thought. In a recent analysis of anonymized, standardized workforce data of over nine million employee records from more than 4,000 companies, Visier found that resignation rates hit a significant spike from July to September—even during the pandemic. Trend data for 2021 shows that resignation rates have already begun to climb, signaling an even more pronounced increase this year than previous years, especially in the fields of tech and healthcare.
Additional findings from Visier’s resignation data include:
- Resignations are rising most frequently among mid-career workers: Despite the pandemic, all age groups experienced an increase in resignations between August 2019 and August 2020, except for those ages 20-25, who saw a 20.3% decrease. Employees ages 30-35 (21.5%), 35-40 (19.6%) and 40-45 (25.1%) saw large increases in resignations, signaling that workers more established in their careers have continued to shift jobs.
- Manager resignation rates have increased during the pandemic: As of December 2020, the resignation rate for managers was nearly 12% higher than the previous year. While increased responsibilities and burnout likely played a major role, gender differences were also a factor. Female managers were more likely to leave the workplace altogether to take care of their families during Covid-19, while men were more likely to jump ship to another role. This supports Visier’s earlier public polling findings, which uncovered that one in three female managers were considered exiting the workforce altogether.
- The healthcare and high-tech industries are seeing the most resignations: Resignations in the tech field have increased 4.5% between March 2020 and March 2021, while the healthcare industry saw resignation rates rise by 3.61% in the same time frame. There is a significant cause for concern that healthcare workers, facing increased job stress and burnout, are at high risk of turnover this summer.
Ian Cook, vice president of people analytics at Visier, explained how employers can prepare for the upcoming great resignation and workforce shortage:
Since 2018, resignation rates across industries have experienced a significant spike from July to September—and this year is no different. Our recent research supports predictions of a post-pandemic resignation boom, with early indicators showing increasing resignation rates as early as March 2021. With this data in mind, it’s safe to say the ‘great resignation’ is already upon us, and businesses (particularly those in high tech and healthcare) will need to address voluntary turnover while they continue to grapple with post-pandemic recovery and return-to-office plans.
While not all turnover is bad, it becomes a problem when organizations struggle to retain their very best talent, which negatively impacts the bottom line. It’s worth noting the 2021 “great resignation” marks a departure from previous high-turnover seasons due key gender differences and high levels of burnout brought on by Covid-19. Our report shows healthcare and high tech are the two sectors driving the upward trend in resignations. Between March 2020 and March 2021, the healthcare industry saw resignation rates rise by 3.61%, and there’s significant concern that burnout among healthcare employees, demand for increased job mobility, and pressure on hourly pay, will increase turnover rates this summer and add further risks to these businesses.
We’re also seeing higher resignations among women, who have been disproportionately impacted by caregiving responsibilities both at home and at work throughout the pandemic. Female resignation rates have increased year over year for the past three years, and the 2020 spike was likely due to the pandemic. Women were not jumping from one employer to the next, instead they had to leave the workforce altogether to take care of their families. The opposite pattern took place for men.
There are steps HR leaders can take to mitigate the impact of resignations, and proactively address voluntary turnover year-round—not only when it becomes a crisis. This starts with taking a data-driven approach to understand which employees are most at-risk of leaving and why. The answers aren’t always straightforward, so using workforce data and analytics can help uncover underlying trends that are impacting resignation rates so organizations can implement a more strategic approach to talent retention.